Fri | Jan 19, 2018

An appeal for the homeless

Published:Thursday | December 22, 2016 | 12:00 AM

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

We pass them every day on the streets and oftentimes we are approached with requests for spare change to buy food. But have you ever stop to think who these persons are and how they get by?

Many of us are guilty of showing little to no regard, maybe as a result of being cheated by the deceivers, but one woman has pledged her time and efforts into making their lives a bit more bearable; however, she needs help.

According to founder of the charitable outreach Friends in Need, Yvonne Townsend, there are approximately 40 homeless persons on the streets in Mandeville and they all come to her at select periods in the day for food and or clothes.

"What many persons don't understand is that you have temporary and permanent homeless persons. You have those who because of situations at home take refuge on the street for a few days, you have the alcoholics, you have those who are mentally unstable, and a host of other categories. You will find the numbers increasing but never really decreasing," said Townsend.

She added: "Every Sunday, as long as we have transportation, we provide them with a hot meal after giving them a bath and grooming their hair. During the week, we provide them with three meals per day, but these aren't cooked meals."


Accommodation for homeless


Townsend, who has transformed her home into one that accommodates less fortunate children and the homeless, among others, told Rural Xpress that she has most if not all the homeless females that were on the streets in the town, but cannot accommodate the men, hence her consistent drive to provide two of their basic need: food and clothing.

"With the women susceptible to sexual abuse, after an assessment we take them to the home, and for those we can't take we try to rehabilitate them, getting to their families or try getting them a job. The men are susceptible to violent attacks and so where we can get them off the street, we try, but we can just try to provide for them for now," she said.

Townsend, who operates a thrift shop to sustain the operation of the charity, says the stock is depleting as the demands are growing and the donations have dropped.

"We don't take cash, only kind, and when persons donate clothes and other items to us, we sell what can be sold to buy food, beddings and toiletries for the home and homeless persons. The other used clothes are given to the street people, but since recently our stock has decreased significantly as we have had to start giving the homeless people what can be sold. We also donate to other homes and to prisons and we recently prepared a barrel to be sent to Haiti," Townsend told Rural Xpress.

Among the items Townsend needs are toiletries, battery-operated shear, children's clothing, blankets, sneakers, shirts, sweaters for men and bedding items for the home, non-perishable foods, gloves, masks and garbage bags.

Individuals may contact Townsend at (876) 421-3453 and visit or make drop-offs at 10 Hargreaves Avenue, Mandeville.